People who bemoan a “tense atmosphere” should at least admit that absolutely anything other than complete acquiescence and surrender to the Right – very much including any and all necessary steps to safeguard democracy – will inevitably lead to “tensions.” Gotta make a choice. https://t.co/6SD9OtBiXp
— Thomas Zimmer (@tzimmer_history) August 15, 2022
It's not quite right to say that it's all been leading up to this, because I don't really think it's ever been leading anywhere. But it was for sure always going to wind up somewhere like this. https://t.co/rWiHKpGrKn
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) August 16, 2022
Dave Roth remains a gift in these troubled times:
… Trump’s appeal, and the extent to which he fits so well within or atop a rancid national moment, is not merely uncomplicated but absolutely as thuddingly obvious as everything else about him. Nothing that Trump has ever done has ever been anything but what it looks like. He lies all the time, but because it requires some forethought and intent, higher-order deception is just not in him. He does everything he does for one reason, which is that he wants to do it at the moment it occurs to him to want it; that simple flash of want, which chirps out at periodic intervals like the sounds a smoke detector makes when its battery is dying, justifies anything that he takes or tries simply by virtue of its existence.
Trump ran as that man, on that platform, with the implicit promise that he would cut all those supporters in on his special deal; what grew from that was only sort of a political movement and more strictly a fandom, and driven as fandoms are by gossip and feuds and opportunities for fans to participate in activities designed to boost their guy. What this means is that millions of Americans are now either willing to kill or die for Trump in ways and for reasons specific to whatever it is that he is upset about at any given moment, or (mostly) just fantasize about it online. (The man who tried and failed to kill some FBI agents in Ohio last week in defense of Trump’s honor, was one until he became the other.) None of this is “good,” but it’s not remotely new and would only seem uniquely aberrant to someone who doesn’t pay much attention to how America is from one moment to the next. Trump became famous not because he was remarkable, which he has never been, but because he was such a crystalline expression of such a normal and utterly vile way of being; he became what he is now because, mostly, he was already famous.
It is less worrying that American culture was warped enough to produce even one Donald Trump and elevate him to power—although, again, that is “not what you want”—than it is how many aspirants and opportunists and acolytes were already there waiting for him when he emerged, glazed and poisonous, from the end of the long assembly line that made him. A culture that does not actively seek to create in people a constant quantum of raw spite and aimless resentment and relentless self-centered entitlement, and that fetishizes a perverse, downward-hammering idea of accountability, and whose reigning national fantasies all resolve to delivering retribution and violence without consequence and to public acclaim, would be very unlucky to produce even one Donald Trump. This culture’s got millions.
If that number wasn’t quite enough to keep Trump in office, it is both sure to grow and already well-represented in government’s crucial community of hugely powerful unelected people; the forces that create and sustain the circumstances that enable all this were not defeated by voters in 2020, and necessarily cannot be. It is also true that these people, who all absolutely believe that their urge to take and have is the most sacred and fundamental right, will not stop wanting what they want. They wanted and want what they believed Donald Trump had, but for themselves, and that demand sustains and supports everything else. It makes sense that every insult visited upon Trump’s luxurious facade—an election he lost, or federal agents serving a warrant at his Florida golf club and hauling out some boxes of top-secret documents that he’d been keeping there for some reason or other—is taken as not just an outrage but an existential threat and act of war. That’s what it feels like to them, but also it’s the only way they know how to interpret anything…
If it is difficult to believe that Donald Trump will get in trouble for violating the damn Espionage Act, it’s not because he hasn’t apparently done that. The act doesn’t require any active attempts to do espionage, which is where Trump’s signature lassitude and world-historic toady-reliance have gotten him off the hook before. The act requires only that someone who has that information “willfully retain” it and “fail to deliver it on demand” when told to do so, and both a generalized willful retention and the persistent failure to deliver upon request are as close to core values as Trump has. The problem is that the same culture that created Donald Trump and then raised him as high as it could has also evolved to serve people like him above and beyond any other end. This was the horror and the sick daily thrill of his presidency—to watch as every institution revealed itself, under the unrelenting pressure of his appetite and sloppiness, to be quite willing to do what he wanted instead of what it had ostensibly been built to do; to see the sour and ancient spirit of our laws win out over their more outwardly high-minded letter; to see the national fantasy of endless passive income and bulletproof personal impunity that Trump embodied emerge as the only political principle of a major political party…
It seems unlikely that any of it will be different. The man has only ever had one trick, and it has never, ever mattered; he has never once acted as if it could, and so it is just the same revelation over and over again. It makes sense, then, that Trump and his people seem so outraged and so afraid at the possibility that any of this might somehow finally be made to matter—not just because of those potential consequences, but because of the principle. The absolute freedom from consequence they demand is everything. A whole brutal world depends upon it.
May 2020: It's wildly irresponsible to worry that Trump will stage a coup, or that democracy is under threat.
August 2022: Democracy might end if Trump is held accountable for literally anything. pic.twitter.com/KtG0LQf1Ki
— Christian Vanderbrouk 🇺🇸🇺🇦🌻 (@UrbanAchievr) August 17, 2022
‘His people’ still love them some Trump!
Well Ron: you know what to do. It's crime time babyyyyy pic.twitter.com/WDy52N1BIh
— Hemry, Local Bartender (@BartenderHemry) August 16, 2022
Meanwhile, Trump is executed for treason, securing 99.5% of the GOP primary vote
— Hemry, Local Bartender (@BartenderHemry) August 16, 2022
Ah for those simpler times of yesteryear when DC was quiet in the humid heat of summer and New Hampshire had multiple elections for a contested US Senate seat.
(History is cool, and instructive!)
Dolt 45 — the herpes of the body politic.
@NotMax: Let me know if you want your sidebar link to say anything different.
Y’know, this Trump guy is starting to sound a bit like Keyser Söze.
Major Major Major Major
But god do I miss the days when he wasn’t all over the news 😢
When Dave Roth says “millions are willing to kill or die for Trump“, no I don’t think so.
If he had said that millions are now mentally ill, I’d agree with that.
Yes there is no option except the turmoil ahead. But the only way out of it is through it. And that’s what we’re here for.
Go Joe! And a pox on Trump and Putin!
@different-church-lady: I was going to go with Vile Pig.
The Wingularity is Nigh!
“I love America, but I don’t like it.”
The stinking fucking media needs there faces smashed like BUG
@Poe Larity: Peak Wingnut is a lie.
@Raoul Paste: To be fair, he qualified it as “either [that] or… fantasize about it”. As well, I’d gently push back on the conflation of mental illness with violent fanaticism – can speak from experience that neither requires the other.
A cult of personality can afflict anyone who needs to belong and to explain the world in terms of enemies, no matter what condition they started with. And if I read it right, what’s being described is more of a culture of personality, or rather a culture of the principle of impunity. Maybe something we’ve needed to address from the very beginning. In fact, doubtlessly so.
Is this a venality-only open thread or an open open thread? I ask because since we have someone who makes baby dropboxes, like I knew that was even a thing, maybe there is an expert on Aeolian Door Harps.
Someone has asked me to make one of these
Meanwhile, … Joanna Behrman at PhysicsToday – Physics … is for Girls?:
No paywall. A good read.
@Poe Larity: Zooks! What a neat thing.
I’ve actually encountered this argument before and the response from the chauvinists is always “oh, of course, yes, when ‘science’ was still a bunch of pretty plant pictures and ‘natural science’ bullshit, it attracted women, but when it became about a bunch of difficult mathematics, that all changed.”
And when one points out important contemporary female physicists or mathematicians, it’s always “well, exception that proves the rule, yada yada.”
@Poe Larity: Interesting, but perhaps a bit drafty in the winter — and the rest of the year! The site even points that out:
@livewyre: Violent fanaticism is in there, but it’s more than that. It’s the willingness to ignore all evidence. Consider the fake electors, the January 6th violence, the classified documents, the business scams, the Zelensky blackmail , and on and on and on, then imagine that the associated person is named Obama.
These people would be screaming for the rule of law, and with good reason
So I don’t know where these cultists might fall under the DSM V, but reality-based they are not
Am I the only one who thinks Dave Roth could use a good editor? I find myself having to reread his sentences over and over to follow his line of thought.
Trump has impulse control issues, but he’s also capable of planning ahead.
He’s shady real estate developer. He hooks himself into a possible
suckerclient or customer, and persistently pushes said person until he gets the deal. He spends time thinking and planning about what to say to close the deal, what promises to make about how great the deal will be for the client, and a general low cunning in how he approaches any situation.
He’s dumb at a lot of things, but he has refined his low cunning approach to life to an incredible extent. He hit the right combination of being honest to a receptive public about his racism and bigotry, and saying whatever he thought people wanted to hear, like making a cheaper and better healthcare plan than President Obama did.
He cannot focus on briefings, or other things we expect a grown ass adult to be able to do, but in figuring out how to hustle people showing the slightest interest in what he has to sell, he’s very focused and deliberate. It’s his one gift that he’s used to devastating effect.
That phrase sums up all it is about Trump.
The latest from The Doctor, just because it’s hilarious!
So wow, he can put a vegetable on a plate during a campaign,, no less! Just don’t ask him to remember where he is,
Jim, Foolish Literalist
as someone said on twitter: Does he think he’s running for governor?
also, there’s a new own-goal by Oz from today
To be fair, exhaustion got then candidate Obama to say he campaigned in 57 states, in 2008.
On the other hand, I had no idea what crudité is until I saw a spoof video on Twitter explaining it’s just a veggie plate. That’s just a really out of touch use of a word, along with the rest of the ad showing he’s not gone to a grocery store in a very longtime.
As an NJ resident, we also use the term veggie plate and not crudité. He’s even out of touch with his home state.
@JWR: There must be an intern who reviewed video and missed the slip and is now in very deep shit. Oz should be firing his PR dept.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Was it John McCain or Mitt Romney who similarly had trouble remembering how many homes he owned?
Major Major Major Major
@RandomMonster: he can be a little too cool for school, can’t he?
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
are the other 8 slum rentals?
@Raoul Paste: An explanation that’s often overlooked is that white supremacy is a cause in itself. Maybe because it’s just that unpleasant to contemplate, or maybe it doesn’t occur easily to those who are both spared its attention and inclined to consider the best in others.
Either way, it doesn’t take a sickness to go along with it, or to espouse it, or to die for it. It takes a culture. That’s what it means for racism to be systemic – it’s in us and is our responsibility to change. The same point as the original article lays out, in fact. It’s not something we can marginalize away as “just those inferiors” – in fact, doing so is the root of the problem.
a) what could this possibly mean — very unusual and specific definition of what crudité means.
b) who exactly, other than Oz himself, was doing this ridiculous action of putting vegetables on plates in the middle of a campaign? (although I guess it would be just as odd to let any vegetables hanging about in a campaign sit loose upon the tablecloth or stuff them into filing cabinets or something. . . . )
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@dmsilev: McCain. Apparently Cindy would buy real estate without telling him.
R-Money got dinged for his throw-away style on “Ann has a couple of Cadillacs”
@Raoul Paste: In addition, and more specifically, they did go after him already. With everything they had, and under color of law. There wasn’t a good reason. When supremacy says “rule of law”, it means impunity. Authority and extraction are the sole purpose of the law in that model. Not justice as we understand it – not fairness, not equal protection, only authority of the greater over the lesser. That’s what we’re up against, not a parade of insane-asylum stereotypes.
Not sure what the other eight are used for, but they don’t look like slums.
That is good, a question! ; )
Hell, I don’t know what he’s talking about, neither
ETA that maybe he was aiming for the “putting food on your family” line, and was simply too, too exhausted to finish.
Well, my stance—execute all of them on prime time—is never popular, so I won’t elaborate my position. They are fascists angling for war, and eventually they will get an answer to their petition—I suspect it won’t go well for them, or for anyone really. But they must be smashed. There’s no other answer.
Republican venality out of the way, I’ll use the “open thread” aspect to self promote my new band, the Country Gold Classics, every Friday at Sutton’s, 1706 N. 5th Street, Philadelphia PA. My sister is sitting in for a few songs this week—we’ve never gigged together ever in the 48 years a I’ve known her, so it’ll be special for sure! Got her singing “Space Buggy” by Asleep at the Wheel and a countrified “Here Me Talkin’ To Ya” by Ella. It’ll be a good time, so any Juicers in the Philly area, come on out!
I read the link, and it seemed wonderful until I listened to the example sound. I would go nuts listening to that.
@gene108: But for Obama that was in a live speech or debate (can’t remember exactly), for Oz it was a campaign video, where they should have had time to review things and do a re-take. Probably grifting too much to hire a decent crew for the shoot with someone to review the takes immediately after they were made.
@JR: years ago I had a Peanuts poster of, I think, Schroeder, which read: I love mankind; it’s people I can’t stand.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Trumps old lawyer Cohen thinks Trump was keeping those documents as blackmail if he was convicted of a felony. Seems a reasonable think to say considering the way Trump is trying to threaten voilance if he is prosecuted for keeping them.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Okay. Then how can it be defeated if voters can’t defeat it in an election?
Also, is Dave Roth saying there’s a chance Trump won’t get in trouble for violating the Espionage Act? I find that very difficult to believe. It seems like it’s open and shut case
TFG’s one true gift is the con: how to steal, over and over and over again, and not only get away with it, but to parlay it into a brand, a brand that is his own name. This “take-it-while-it’s-hot” approach to life appeals to a lot of Americans, who just see themselves as waiting for that One Big Chance that will put them on Easy Street, as TFG has so obviously done.
The reality show had ten years to create that persona. Not just free publicity, but creating a TV-ready simulation that appealed most directly to the demographic that watches a steady diet of reality TV – rural whites. Not by accident, this is the same demographic as Fox News watchers, and folks who go to Prosperity Gospel churches. All it takes is one Lucky Strike to make it big … look at what TFG did! If he can do it, so can I!
This is the uniquely American dimension to this Hitler-esque figure. Yes, he really wants to be Hitler, and shape America into his own grotesque image. His cult followers devoutly want that too, more than anything, but in a TV reality. If they had the chance to open death camps, it would be a reality show: TV-friendly and profitable, and not hidden away. The horror would be sold, commercialized, and celebrated.
@livewyre: Perhaps sickness is too charged of a word, so I might substitute deluded, which we can likely agree on
And yes there are a lot of factors here such as white supremacy and the desire for respect. But the more egregious the crimes become, and the more ridiculous the excuses become, reality has to give way in order to stay in the cult
The funny thing about this argument is that the acme of “thinking like a physicist” for the last half of the 20th century, at least, was to reduce a description of a complex phenomemon, described using complex mathematics, to a simple “back-of-the-envelope” model (three equations, tops) that captures the essential features.
One of the great triumphs of the last 50 years is how understanding and managing complex systems using formal mathematical methods has become a dominant modality in science and technology. In some areas (e.g. electronics and computers) it has completely replaced the back-of-the-envelope approach. The jury is still out on how gender politics works with this, though. Women are participating in the enterprise in large numbers as peers, which wasn’t the case at all in the 1940s. They are nowhere near half, though, unlike, say, medicine.
As you asked, promoting the event and not my nym would’ve been my first choice.
Consensus seems to be coalescing around Friday the 26th. So suggest giving it another 24 hours and then changing the notification to “NYC Meetup on Aug. 26!” unless you hear otherwise in the interim.
It’s not regional dialect from anywhere (except maybe France), it’s snobby rich people dialect. They can’t have anything as plebian as a veggie plate at their cocktail parties, only crudite.
I didn’t have to google it, but I can’t remember where I learned the word, certainly not from my family. Maybe in French class.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka):
Also, how can Roth know those numbers “will be sure to grow”?
West of the Rockies
I find some passages to be a bit murky.
Keyser Söze was smart.
I think it was about 2024. Trump already tried to blackmail or extort a foreign nation into rigging the American election in his favor. That was impeachment #1. I expect he kept all that material with the intent on repeat performance in 2024 since he knows in his heart that he isn’t popular enough to actually win in a fair election. I think this is mostly or entirely about leverage in 2024.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): That’s an interesting question, actually. It’s not totally clear to me what the object of that sentence is, in the reference to “government’s crucial community of hugely powerful unelected people”. I’m going to guess that means now that our would-be aristocracy and their bought officials have gotten a taste of impunity, it’s going to be hard for them to let go, due to the circumstances that got them their plenty in the first place.
To your earlier question, as to how to defeat it – my answer is culturally. They call this a culture war for a reason. But culture isn’t fought with guns. It’s more of an internal conflict: what do we stand for? Why do we stand for it? Do we give in to the urge to just name a class of the tainted and inferior and put them to a spectacular end, as some have already suggested here?
Or maybe there’s something less (maybe literally) viscerally satisfying but more pertinent that we could be doing instead. There was a thread earlier about how to approach others who were wavering on which party to vote for – first, swallow one’s pride, then validate their concerns whether factual or not, and finally offer a way out in your chosen direction. It’s a matter of technique and not one for everyone’s stomach but both possible and proven.
Meanwhile, as for the ones who can’t be reached, it isn’t about them and never was, no matter what they’ve been told. The foremost thing we have to do is keep making things better through public policy, like we’re doing already – driven by a trust in consensus, and informed by the goal of keeping the planet as sustainably habitable as we can. Anyone who doesn’t trust in consensus and insists on force instead will have to be left frustrated. Lone wolves don’t last as long in the wild.
As far as whether the law can reach TFG himself? That’s a question for both the DOJ, which answers mainly through action, and for the rest of us to answer among our own communities and in whatever insecurities we have that might just hanker for some of that cultural impunity. The better it gets for each and all of us, the less use we’ll have for it – or for the ones who take advantage of it.
@dmsilev: I think it was McCain…I just googled, it was McCain. When a reporter asked him how many houses he owned, McCain responded that his staff would get to him, the reporter.
@divF: There’s a great article I read a few years back about how the first computer programmers were mostly women (after WWII) and how sometime in the 60s that started to change, as it became obvious that computers would become important in industry. And so, this entire generation of female programmers was tasked with training their replacements — males — after which they were turfed-out. Of course, many of the men weren’t as good as those women, so some of them made a living as consultants cleaning up messes.
And the change happened b/c it became clear that programming would be an important profession — and hence, not something we could let those *women* do, much less *dominate*.
@Chetan Murthy: The article was written from a UK point-of-view, and it pointed out that this basically turfing-out an entire generation of programmers had a big role to play in destroying the UK’s computer industry, b/c “no programmers, no computer industry”. So terrific own-goal there.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
That was a very thoughtful response, thank you
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
The thing I will always remember about R-Money is when Ann got all misty-eyed and remembered when they were both struggling college students and sometimes things got so tight they had to sell stocks out of the portfolio Mitt’s dad set up for him when he was a kid.
@Calouste: IIRC, it was neither a speech nor a debate. He was speaking extemporaneously to an interviewer standing around in a campaign headquarters just after a primary. And if you watch the entire exchange, it was abundantly clear he meant 57 Democratic primaries, which was correct (due to the primaries in the territories and whatnot). But he was running against a senile, warmongering gigolo in a race to replace a guy who said idiotic crap every single day, so the media had to seize on that one slip of Obama’s tongue. You know, for balance.
@eclare: In retrospect, I don’t think McCain forgot or lost count or anything like that. I just think he wasn’t sure how many houses Cindy owned and he didn’t want to admit that all of their houses were in her name. One of the dirty little secrets about St. John McCain is that he didn’t have a pot to piss in until he abandoned his disabled wife and young son to marry the rich beer heiress whose family financed his early campaigns.
@Citizen Alan: while living in a basement apartment and making grilled cheese sandwiches with an iron
I don’t know why that absurdity just occurred to me.
@Citizen Alan: Oh I know how he abandoned the disabled wife who waited for him during his capture.
As soon as he got back to the US he traded her in for a younger and richer model. I had forgotten the whole “all the property is in Cindy’s name” rationale, though. Thanks.
David 🌈☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch
McCain got in trouble for not knowing how many homes he had; for saying he hoped troops remained at war in Iraq for 100 years; for saying Obama was wrong to say bin Laden; “for the “lime green*” speech in New Orleans for oddly attacking Paris Hilton who in turn produced her own attack ad calling him “wrinkly old white guy”
Mittens got in trouble for having 4 mansions while building another; for having a prancing horse in the Olympics; and for installing car elevators in his new mansion (just like the heartland)
* Pat Buchanan hilariously said “it looked like he held the rally at a hospice”
David 🌈☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch
I forgot about this: Ann Romney’s tale of a hard scrabble life in grad school after Mittens successfully dodged the Vietnam draft for 3 years in Paris.
The stock was worth $484,374 in today’s dollars.
@Redshift: Lot of discussion on Twitter about crudités, and somehow charcuterie came into the mix. Someone explained simply – crudités are a veggie tray. Charcuterie is lunchables for grownups.
There go two miscreants
@RandomMonster: You’re not the only one! That was my thought before I even finished the first paragraph. That writing style will never persuade; it’s preaching only to the converted.
@Raoul Paste: Yeah, I stopped reading when I got to that ridiculous hyperbole.
@Raoul Paste: I have said this to conservatives on SM: “Clearly you’re prepared to kill for white supremacy; but are you prepared to die for it? Because in the words of Fannie Lou Hamer, ‘some of y’all won’t write your mamas again.’”
I believe there are millions who are ready to kill for Trump; but only hundreds who are ready to *die* for his orange ass.
And *that can be arranged.
@Chetan Murthy: In the United States, women were driven out of computer-science departments in the 1980s when the culture in these places started to assume new students would come in as self-taught “whiz kids” who had already learned BASIC programming and maybe a little machine language on their home computers. That cohort was heavily male, since it grew out of the boy-marketed video game subculture of the time, and boys were much more likely to get computers as gifts or have them in their rooms.
@David 🌈☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch: McCain was running behind Obama for most of the year, but he still had an outside shot until the 2008 financial crisis hit and all he had to offer as a response was feckless stunts, while Obama started putting out concrete plans as if his transition team were already at work. That was the moment the US electorate really flipped into “time to call Mr. Fixit” mode, which is usually how Democratic Presidents get elected.
@David 🌈☘The Establishment☘🌈 Koch: What’s so dumb about the money stuff is that they should just admit it and use it. “Yes, we were extremely fortunate in life; unlike most students, we didn’t have to struggle. That’s why I want to blah blah blah” and then just go on. To me some of the worst own-goals candidates make is when they come from wealthy backgrounds and try to act like they are common people. Just own it, idiot, and then go on.
@NotMax: I had changed the heading 3 times because I wasn’t entirely happy with any of them. Changed again! Whenever you think the date should be added, please let me know then.
@JR: It’s been observed by many that there are at least two types of patriotism: the type that won’t abide any slight against one’s country and insists that it is perfect in every way, and the type that wants the country to be better and strives for that.
BUT… I’ve always thought of that as not quite getting the difference between right- and left-wing patriotism, because the right clearly doesn’t like America-as-it-is either. The America they love is an imaginary vision of an idealized past. Most of the US population actually irritates them and they want it removed. It’s just that they readily identify those elements of America as un-American, and characterize any difference from their attitude as “hating America”. It’s shooting some holes in the side of the barn and then painting a bullseye around them.
In addition to the former guy’s serial mendacity, it’s important not to let our faultless bulldogs of the Fourth Estate off the hook. Trump would say X is the most important issue facing our country on Monday morning. When that didn’t go over well for whatever reason, he’d be holding forth that anti-X was the solution to some intractable problem: “If we just did anti-X, as I’ve said for years, we wouldn’t have this problem. It’s so easy to solve!”
Meanwhile the media would follow every dodge, every pivot, every flip-flop without question and without any memory that Trump had said X in the morning and anti-X in the afternoon. Anytime a reporter had the temerity to remember stuff, they’d get “Fake News-ed” by Trump and every other reporter would just nod and scribble down whatever Trump wanted them to report right that second.
Paul in KY
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): He’s talking about the whole situation post-Watergate where they just stopped holding extremely powerful people accountable for stuff they got caught doing (Iran-Contra being a great example).
Paul in KY
@ColoradoGuy: You know it, but TFG’s major ‘accomplishment’ was to emerge from the vagina of his mother, wife to a multi-millionaire. Also, I guess, staying on the multi-millionaire’s ‘good’ side till he croaked.
Paul in KY
@Soprano2: Great point! Wasn’t your fault your parents were rich. You just ‘lucked’ into that situation. Assuming good parents, anyone would like them to be rich. Just acknowledge it & move on.